This is a review request for a warbow, intended for the Pathfinder system. The purpose behind the creation of this particular item was to allow the player to quest for a magic item that was not essentially useless at higher levels, but rather gained abilities as the PC gained levels and powers. It is a single occurring item, could possibly be considered as an artifact status, even though it is intended to be available starting at a low level, slanted towards a horizon walker or similar concept. Description and capabilities are as follows:

[Insert name here] was a distinguished ranger, well known for his willingness to protect those around him when the cause was just, regardless of the consequences to himself. Many of the tales that have grown around him have reached the status of unverifiable legend, but it is certain that his bow was a feared weapon among the unjust. It is rumored that he even ventured onto the Abyss and other planes to retrieve people stolen from their land.

Sometime after he retired, he returned to his woodland home to find his wife murdered, and son missing from their house. Taking up his bow once more, he ventured forth to rescue his son. It is unknown what actually happened, but his son was returned, and [...] and his bow were never seen again. Most believe that he either perished, or made a trade with an infernal being to exchange himself for his son.

Many people claim to have either seen or wielded his bow after that, but none of these have been confirmed, and few even believe that the bow existed, counting it as another fantastical tale that surrounds his legacy.


[Insert name here] Warbow is dark wood intricately carved with arcane runes, and glows with a faint amber glow in dim light. A white leather grip is secured to the bow with three silver bands, one each at the top, middle and bottom of the grip. To successfully utilize [...] Warbow to its fullest potential, a character must fulfill the following requirements:

Feats Exotic Weapon Proficiency, Far Shot*, Planar favored terrain** (Edit for clarification: The planar terrain relates only to the planar shift aspect).

Skills Craft (bowyer) 4 ranks, Spellcraft 4 ranks


Character Level Weapon Level Weapon Effect
1st - 2nd 1st +1 adaptive war bow
3rd - 4th 2nd Activation ring spell storing, minor
5th - 6th 3rd Enhance arrows
7th - 8th 4th Minor displacement (as blur)
9th - 10th 5th +1 adaptive distance* war bow
11th - 12th 6th Activation ring spell storing, regular
13th - 14th 7th Plane shift, ** 3/day
15th - 16th 8th Imbue arrow
17th - 18th 9th Phase arrow
19th - 20th 10th Activation ring spell storing, major

1: +1 adaptive: At first level, the bow gains the +1 adaptive quality. Bow is +1 to hit/damage, and Strength bonus applies as well.

2: Spell Storing (Su): At third level, activation of the first ring occurs. This ring activates and functions as a ring of spell storing, minor.

3: Enhance Arrows (Su): Each non-magical arrow fired gains +1, and one of the flaming, shock or burst attributes.

4: Minor Displacement (Su): When wielded, the weapon distorts light as a cloak of displacement, minor, resulting in 20% miss chance on attacks against the wielder.

5: Distance (Su): Every arrow fired by the bow gains the distance quality. *Note: For this to be used, wielder must have the Far Shot feat. If this is not available, this ability lies dormant until it is acquired.

6: Spell Storing (Su): Activation of the second ring occurs. This functions as a ring of spell storing, regular.

7: Plane Shift (Su): At 13 th level, the leather wrap darkens and close inspection reveals swirls. This can be used to activate and take up to 8 linked people as in the spell plane shift. If the shift is to a favored terrain, the bow grants the wielder the ability to natively survive while in possession. In addition, the accuracy is 1-10 miles from target. In other planes, normal accuracy and conditions apply. **Note: The wielder must have a plane as a favored terrain. If this is not available, the ability lies dormant until it is available.

8: Imbue Arrow (Su): The bow grants the ability to infuse any non-magical arrow with either a known or stored area of effect spell. This spell will activate on any hit. If the result of the attack is a miss, the spell is lost without activation.

9: Phase Arrow (Su): The wielder can launch an arrow 2x per day at a target known to him within range, and the arrow travels to the target in a straight path, passing through any nonmagical barrier or wall in its way. (Any magical barrier stops the arrow.) This ability negates cover, concealment, armor, and shield modifiers, but otherwise the attack is rolled normally.

10: Spell Storing (Su): Activation of the third ring occurs. This functions as a ring of spell storing, major.

Aura moderate abjuration; CL 12th; Craft Magic Arms and Armor, creator must possess the arcane pool quality; Price +5 bonus.

I would like to determine if this is a logical progression, or if it is not enough in the beginning progressing to overpowered at the high end?

  • \$\begingroup\$ To clarify, are you asking if this is balanced at all levels? \$\endgroup\$
    – willuwontu
    Commented Jun 5, 2019 at 16:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ @williamporter - Yes, it should be balanced throughout the entire progression. \$\endgroup\$
    – JohnP
    Commented Jun 5, 2019 at 16:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ObliviousSage - That is...a good point. I am unsure as well, as I've not encountered that process before. \$\endgroup\$
    – JohnP
    Commented Jun 5, 2019 at 16:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ObliviousSage Having see this occur before with the [pathfinder-2e] tag, they retagged all those questions to be [pathfinder-2e-playtest] when that tag existed already, so it should be fine. \$\endgroup\$
    – willuwontu
    Commented Jun 5, 2019 at 16:59
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ (You may want to review the utility or phrasing of phase arrow in light of, for example, this question. While an archer that possesses the bow may have the capacity to shoot through walls, not many archers possess the X-ray vision that actually enables them to do so!) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 5, 2019 at 17:13

4 Answers 4


A few clarifications up front:

First of all, what is a “war bow”? I can’t seem to find any Pathfinder stats for such a weapon. The third-party weapons list includes a “warbow” from Adventuring Classes: A Fistful of Denarii by Robert J. Grady; since it’s the closest I can find, I’m using its stats for the rest of this answer.

Second, a price of “+5 bonus” doesn’t make sense for a unique weapon. Those types of prices are only for adding magic onto some weapon, which isn’t what you are doing here. Specific named weapons just get their value written out in gold pieces, something like “50,450 gp” (i.e. the value of a +5 warbow). Anyway, since you’re giving this out early on, and treating it like an artifact, any price doesn’t make sense; artifacts don’t have values attached to them.

Finally, just to clarify in case there is some confusion, being “essentially useless at higher levels” is not necessarily the fate of all magical items that don’t “gain[...] abilities as the PC gained levels and powers.” With every item, you can always craft new abilities onto it. That is, a +1 war bow can be improved to a +1 adaptive war bow and then to +1 adaptive distance war bow just by spending the time/money to improve it. Nothing wrong with an item that grows automatically, for sure, but just so you’re aware that other options exist.

Now then,

Bottom line up front: Costs more than a character could ever afford at all but the latest levels

A 1st-level character doesn’t get magic weapons, almost-ever. Even at 1st level, this bow is worth about 2,450-2,950 gp—the guidelines would say 8,450 gp, but I think it’s more accurate in this case to evaluate adaptive as being equivalent to a composite bow matching the character, so 0 gp for a Strength of 10 (or less), or 500 gp for a Strength of 18 (very high for a 1st-level archer). Still, 500 gp alone is more than 1st-level characters get, to say nothing of the 2,450 gp worth of +1 warbow.

A +1 adaptive warbow doesn’t become reasonable until, at a minimum, 4th level. A minor ring of spell storing cannot be afforded before 5th, and isn’t really reasonable until 5th or 6th—and that’s still going to be a large chunk of that character’s wealth.

Then enhance arrows comes in, and blur, adding at a bare minimum another 30,000 gp—at that point the weapon is worth something like 80,000 gp, which is more than a character should have total until 11th level, and not a reasonable amount to have until about 14th level.

Before you even get there, though, you get a ring of spell storing and at-will plane shift, which easily add another 80,000 gp. That value is probably conceivable around 16th level...

...when you’ve gotten imbue arrow, which is very good.

Basically, until about 17th level or so, this bow is far more valuable than a character could reasonably afford at the given level. And I’m being generous: I am ignoring adaptive and distance as minor quality-of-life ribbons rather than evaluating them how the game says to, and I am ignoring phasing arrow (which is probably fair, since it’s pretty poor).

Concern: Obviates the arcane archer prestige class?

This gets enhance arrows, imbue arrow, and phase arrow, three features of the arcane archer prestige class. More importantly, imbue arrow is just about the only reason to ever play an arcane archer, so if someone with this already has that, they got the best part of the arcane archer class “for free.”

Ultimately, this doesn’t concern me that much, since arcane archer isn’t really all that great anyway, and the arcane archer would have imbue arrow at a far lower level. On top of that, typical horizon walkers aren’t going to have great spellcasting.

Concern: This incentivizes a probably-unintended usage

This bow is designed for the horizon walker prestige class, but beyond meeting the bare minimum requirements to use the bow, that class doesn’t synergize with the bow in any way. That means that someone who wants the other benefits of this bow—most notably imbue arrow without having to use arcane archer—is encouraged to take just two levels of horizon walker, enough to use this bow, and focus the rest of their levels on something more powerful than horizon walker. An 18th-level wizard/2nd-level horizon walker probably becomes the optimal usage. It seems kind of unlikely that you intended that as the best way to use this bow.

Since this is intended for a particular character, this may be a purely theoretical concern though.

Concern: Its weapon properties are quite weak

While adaptive is very good (and basically mandatory for a weapon like this), distance is pretty poor—the warbow already has an enormous range, and the opportunities to use an even greater range tend to be few and far between in most campaigns. That is often intentional, since when long-ranged characters can attack from those ranges, a lot of times they can eliminate encounters without ever being endangered. Even if the enemy has similar range with which to respond, other PCs may well not, and therefore not get to participate.

So, assuming you don’t often let this character snipe enemies with impunity, you have basically a +1 adaptive warbow, with flaming, frost, or shock so long as you aren’t using magic arrows. That’s not great, and the enhancement bonus offered by enhance arrows is entirely wasted (the +1 bonus it puts on arrows overlaps with the +1 bonus on the bow).

Consider having enhance arrows improve, eventually to +5, which will enable the bow to pierce damage reduction. That is very important to an archer. Some additional properties on the bow itself would be well worth considering.

Otherwise, this bow and its fantastic utility will spend a lot of time slung across the character’s back, while they use a real bow for attacks.

Concern: At-will plane shift might be somewhat game-warping

As an escape button, it’s without parallel. It means your entire party can escape nearly any situation in a round, whenever they need to, and then return to approximately the same location whenever they like. That could seriously change how your campaign plays out. The low accuracy on the return trip could be a problem for the heroes in some cases, but at least some of their quests may well not be overly hampered by it—they could literally plane shift in and out at their leisure, waiting until they get a lucky roll on the “distance from target” check. On a wide-open battlefield, they could appear, blast, and return to any safe haven they might care for.

If they’re really clever, they can abuse planes with positive energy for healing, planes with fast time for sleeping and recovering spell slots, and so on. Plane shift is a big deal, especially at-will.

Concern: The final value of this weapon is at least 414,450 gp

The value of a +4 warbow (accounting for the +1, adaptive, distance, and the flaming, frost, or shock available from enhance arrows), a minor cloak of displacement, a minor ring of spell storing, a ring of spell storing, a major ring of spell storing, and a use-activated item of plane shift at-will is a staggering 414,450 gp. That makes it vastly more expensive than any other item in the game excepting only the champion of the gilded host, a colossal construct made of solid gold and heavily magic’d, besides.

And all of this is ignoring imbue arrow and phase arrow, since there aren’t guidelines for how to price those.

Now, a 20th-level character is supposed to have 880,000 gp worth of wealth to their names. Such a character could afford all that. And the major ring of spell storing is certainly the largest chunk of value in the bow (nearly half), so prior to that it is a more reasonable value. But it’s definitely something to keep in mind. The other characters in the game may need some substantial gear of their own to compensate here.


Ultimately, as in at 20th level, this probably fine—it does provide a lot of value, but at those levels characters can reasonably afford it. It has fantastic utility, but is perhaps not as good as a straight weapon. That’s a little awkward; the horizon walker may well want some other bow for just attacking with at high levels.

However, while leveling it is consistently a minimum of 2 levels ahead of the wealth curve, and that’s being pretty generous in how I’m evaluating its features. At a bare minimum I would shift everything up a tier, skipping the phase arrow feature of the 9th-level bow. The 1st-level bow would instead be just a “+0” adaptive warbow (“+0” here meaning “masterwork, but counts as magical”), probably—even that is quite good at 1st, but it’s not totally unreasonable.

Something like

Character Level Weapon Level Weapon Effect
1st – 2nd 1st “+0” adaptive war bow
3rd – 4th 2nd +1 adaptive war bow
5th – 6th 3rd Activation ring spell storing, minor
7th – 8th 4th Enhance arrows
9th – 10th 5th Minor displacement (as blur)
11th – 12th 6th +1 adaptive distance* war bow
13th – 14th 7th Activation ring spell storing
15th – 16th 8th Plane shift,** 3/day
17th – 18th 9th Imbue arrow
19th – 20th 10th Activation ring spell storing, major

To be clear, this is still very good at each of those levels—plenty would argue that it’s still too much. I think it’s probably OK enough—you’re pushing the envelope, but you have to in order to overcome custom content, and besides, assuming we are talking about a horizon walker here, those aren’t very powerful and could use the boost.

But I probably would go further. Toning down the major ring of spell storing and adding some per-day limitation on plane shift (perhaps one that scales with level) are probably your best bets for reining in some of the more problematic elements, and that should give you room to improve the bow’s usage as an actual weapon, which at this point is fairly lacking.

  • \$\begingroup\$ The proposed statblock is a +5 weapon enhancement, based on the last lines. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 5, 2019 at 18:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Ifusaso Based on the entire introduction and fluff, I’m thinking no, it isn’t, and the “+5 enhancement” price is a mistake or misunderstanding, which I addressed right at the beginning of the answer. (The third “clarification up front”) \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Jun 5, 2019 at 18:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ My bad, I was skimming \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 5, 2019 at 18:55
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ You are correct in your identification of the warbow source. \$\endgroup\$
    – JohnP
    Commented Jun 5, 2019 at 19:54
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ The +5 was a misunderstanding of how the pricing/valuation works. It wasn't really intended to be an artifact, although in actuality it probably needs to be. That can be disregarded. \$\endgroup\$
    – JohnP
    Commented Jun 5, 2019 at 19:56

Compared to base items, this bow is extremely valuable at almost every level of play.

  • Bow level 1 isn't bad, but is worth more money than you have
  • +1 Weapons aren't typically affordable until about level 3-4. This is approximately 2,500g for a 1st-2nd level character. Luckily no level 1-2 character can afford a +6 weapon, so this is not really an issue. Because the bow was already magical, it's really just the Adaptive special ability.
  • Bow Level 2 starts to seem... strong
  • Minor Ring of Spell Storing is worth 18,000g and is one of the most versatile and useful items for Martial characters with spellcaster allies, and a solid choice for spellcasters as well. This takes away its only drawback (that you can't equip 2 other rings with it)
  • Bow level 3 needs to have it's language cleaned up and is probably a large jump in power
  • This gives level 5+ characters +3 more weapon enhancement included in the price (worth about 32,000g), assuming the +1 was intended to stack and you meant flaming burst or shocking burst. Taking off the Burst portion (And 2d10+ damage on crits) would bring this more in-line with the +2 to +3 weapons others would have in this level range.
  • Bow level 4 is just plain awesome in power
  • A Minor Cloak of Displacement effect means constant Blur... concealment means you can attempt Stealth anywhere, dodge 1/5 of every attack, and saved 24,000g. It also removed this item's greatest drawback... that you can't easily replace a Cloak of Resistance.
  • Bow level 5 is fairly reasonable most of the time
  • The only concerns with level 5 are that it's another effective +1 on the weapon and the rare instance of the wielder being in a position that they can shoot a quarter of a mile. Most battle situations don't allow themselves to take advantage of this, but a Horizon Walker with Dimension Door spell-like and a Fly speed or even Feather Fall could easily rain arrows for multiple turns at long range with almost no penalty.
  • Bow level 6 adds a second ring of Spell Storing, as written
  • A regular ring of Spell Storing is another 50,000g worth of simply amazing item that does not take up a slot.
  • Bow level 7 is a very thematic and fun ability
  • The value of Plane Shift, unlike the other abilities, is very context-dependent. I consider this an excellent ability to have on an item like you're describing. I would limit it to use(s) per day unless you're running a campaign where they need to be able to freely travel the Planes.
  • Bow level 8 makes a ranged weapon a melee only special ability/entire class feature
  • Another +1 enhancement equivalent, but not a overpowering special ability. Definitely not going to sit well with anyone else who built for the Arcane Archer Prestige Class.
  • Bow level 9 needs some serious clarification (does Mage Armor defeat it or only apply its AC? Can the wielder sense viable targets? How/to what extent does it nullify concealment bonuses?) and is very powerful
  • The limit of twice per day is the only thing that prevents this ability from being extremely powerful
  • Bow level 10 should not be a thing
  • A Greater Ring of Spell Storing follows the same complaints I have about its predecessors (including the fact that there's no language against them now having 3 Rings of Spell Storing) and adds 200,000g to the value.

What The War bow is:

  • a +2 distance (flaming or shock at will) burst adaptive spell storing* (+8 equivalent) weapon
  • infinite teleportation, if you include Planes and back
  • 3 Rings
  • A cloak
  • Conservatively, provides 430,000g of value by level 19
  • consistently valued at 75-2000% of a character's WBL except at the highest levels of play

What a War Bow isn't:

  • a perfectly optimized ranged weapon
  • balanced against existing gear

What I would do to fix it

Clarify that it is, in fact, an Artifact and has all of the associated benefits/problems with owning an Aritfact, including that only one exists. Ensure that any campaign this is in will have at least a few Artifacts to benefit the party.

Then, give the weapon charges that replenish per day. The charges can be static or increase by wielder's level. Different abilities cost X charges. Clarify that only the strongest Spell Storing effect is active.

For example, assuming charges = HD:

  • Level 1 Adaptive is constant (no charges)
  • Level 2 Expend charges = to spell level to cast a spell Stored in the bow, can store up to 3 levels of spells at once
  • Level 3 Spend a charge as a Swift action to add flaming or shock for (CL) rounds. Spend 2 charges for it to last (CL) minutes or for flaming or shocking burst for (CL) rounds.
  • Level 4 Spend 2 charges as an Immediate action to benefit from Blur for (CL) minutes
  • Level 5 Distance is constant as long as you have Far Shot (no charges)
  • Level 6 Expend charges = 1/2 spell level to cast a spell Stored in the bow, can store up to 5 levels of spells at once
  • Level 7 Expend 5 charges to Plane Shift (with the listed benefits)
  • Level 8 Expend 1 charge as a Swift action when casting an area spell, including from the bow, to fire an arrow and cause the effect at the creature or location hit
  • Level 9 Expend 3 charges as a Swift action to make your next arrow ignore cover and target touch AC
  • Level 10 Expend charges = 1/3 spell level to cast a spell Stored in the bow, can store up to 10 levels of spells at once

Listed below is my analysis/issues with the weapon. It is in no particular order.

  • Planar favored terrain is not a feat. Instead it should be "Favored Terrain (any plane) class feature".
  • Rather than your item level by character level chart, consider using a format similar to scaling magic items, where you just list the level the benefit is gained at.
  • Burst is not a weapon enchantment.
  • Getting +1 adaptive at level 1 is kind of strong. Using normal wealth by level (WBL), players usually cannot afford a +1 bow until 3, and it wouldn't be until 4 that they can afford a +1 adaptive bow. This would also be over half their WBL at that point, however as @KRyan pointed out in comments, it's more equivalent to a bow with a STR bonus equal to that of the character, so instead of being 40 time WBL (8000 gp), it's more of 26-28 times WBL.
  • Gaining a minor ring of spell storing at level 3 is huge, normally (from experience), a player wouldn't get one until level 10 or so. The cost of a ring of spell storing is 18,000 gp normally, way over the WBL of a level 3 character. If we use the magic item creation rules to price this item, we come to a value of 30,000 gp (18000 + (8000)*1.5) at this point. This is disregarding any other loot or money they've gained by this point, and is 10 times the normal WBL of a level 3 character.
  • Ignoring the fact that you're giving the wielder the benefit of the Arcane Archer prestige Class for free, these are all +1 enchantments, bringing the total value of the bow up to 45,000 gp (18000 + (18000)*1.5). This is only roughly 4.5 time the WBL of a level 5 character now.
  • A Minor Cloak of Displacement is normally 24,000 gp, not only are they getting it for free, they're also freeing up their shoulder slot for a Cloak of Resistance, negating one of the downsides of using a cloak of resistance. The weapon now has a cost of 78,000 gp (24000 + (18000 + 18000)*1.5), a little over 3 times the WBL of a level 7 character.
  • Despite this ability requiring a feat, the distance special ability is a +1 enchantment, and increases the value of the weapon.
  • A ring of spell storing normally costs 50,000 gp. This brings up the total value of the weapon to 161,000 gp (50000 + (24000+32000+18000)*1.5), almost double the WBL of a level 11 character.
  • At use plane shift as a Spell-Like Ability is worth 182,000 gp usually (7* 13 * 2000). This bring the Value of the bow up to 368,000 gp (182000 + (50000 + 18000 + 32000 + 24000)*1.5, which is about 2.5 times WBL. The fact that since it's a supernatural ability and thus doesn't provoke nor can be counterspelled makes it worth more.
  • Level 15 and 17 give away more of the Arcane Archer class, I'm unable to place a good price on the value of Phase Arrows, however I can approximate the worth of Imbue Arrows. Using the Spell Storing special ability, we can see that imbue arrows is stronger (no limit on spell level), making it a minimum of a +2 enhancement bonus as it's value (more likely +3, but we'll assume +2 for now). This would bring the cost up to 428,000 gp (182000 + (50000 + 18000 + 72000 + 24000)*1.5) over all, just a bit over a level 17's WBL. Without accounting for the value of these 2 abilities, it finally goes under WBL at level 17.
  • A Major Ring of Spell Storing is worth 200000 gp, this makes the bow worth at least 659,000 gp (200000 + (182000 + 50000 + 24000+32000)*1.5) (Greater ring + (Use Activated Plane Shift + Ring + Cloak + Minor Ring + Weapon Enchanments bonus)*1.5). This is 96% of a level 19's WBL. Applying the approximated value of imbue arrows, it becomes worth 719,000 gp (200000 + (182000+72000+50000+24000+18000)*1.5), which is over a level 19's WBL.

    Things you can do to fix it. My recommendations to fix it.

  • Make it start as only a +1 bow.

  • Drop most of the class features it grants. If they want the benefits of being an arcane archer, make them play one. Don't give them an items that gives it to them for free. Change the bonus damage enchantment to depend on their planar favored terrain (corrosive for earth plane, fire for fire plane, frost for water plane, shock for air plane, etc), with their choice per arrow if they have multiple planar favored terrains.
  • Only have a single ring of spell storing, start off with a minor one, and then upgrade it, don't give all three types.
  • Limit the usage of the cloak of displacement effect, give it a set number of rounds it can be used in a day.

Applying these changes I end up with the following item:

[Insert name here]'s Warbow

Pricing and what not

This +1 darkwood composite longbow is intricately carved with arcane runes, and glows with a faint amber glow in dim light. A white leather grip is secured to the bow with three silver bands, one each at the top, middle and bottom of the grip.

3rd Level: The bow gains the Adaptive special quality.

6th Level: The bow gains a special ability depending on what plane the wielder has selected as their favored terrain. If the wielder has selected multiple favored terrains, they must select only one to use for this ability. This choice can be changed each time they shoot an arrow. [Insert Table of planes and enchantment]

9th Level: The bow gains the ability to act as a Minor Ring of Spell Storing.

12th Level: As a free action, the wielder of the bow can activate it, letting them act as though affected by a blur spell for 1 round. This ability can be used a number of times per day equal to the wielder's character level.

15th Level: The leather wrap darkens and close inspection reveals swirls. The wielder of the bow gains the ability to use Plane Shift as a spell-like ability once a day with a caster level equal to the wielder's character level. This can only be used to plane shift to a plane the wielder has selected as a favored terrain, if they have not selected a plane as a favored terrain, they cannot use this spell-like ability.

18th Level: The bow now gains the ability to act as a Ring of Spell Storing instead of a Minor Ring of Spell Storing.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I do need to finish analysis of the issues with it still, but I have other things that I need to work on. I'll edit this again later. \$\endgroup\$
    – willuwontu
    Commented Jun 5, 2019 at 18:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ The 1st-level issue is kind of irrelevant since you need planar favored terrain to use the bow... unless that referred solely to plane shift? Now I’m not sure. Anyway, adaptive may be valued at +1, but realistically character’s Strength scores don’t change all that often, particularly for archers, so it’s more accurately priced like a composite bow that just happens to match this particular character’s Strength. And that should be a lot less than 8,000 gp. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Jun 5, 2019 at 19:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ Rereading, I see I am wrong about the planar terrain mastery requirement. Ah, that does change some things. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Jun 5, 2019 at 19:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ I mean, while not bad as a 1st level item, it's still 40 x WBL at minimum, since it'd be 8000gp for a +1 adaptive bow. Remember the bonus str of a regular bow costs +100 per +1 bonus iirc. \$\endgroup\$
    – willuwontu
    Commented Jun 5, 2019 at 19:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ If it was the +1 adaptive on it's own as a whole, I wouldn't mind it, it's just that when combined with everything else ... \$\endgroup\$
    – willuwontu
    Commented Jun 5, 2019 at 19:17

This magic item will not cause a Ranger style character to be stronger than a spellcaster using stronger spells.

In that sense, it's 'balanced'. If it is being given to a Ranger (or a Fighter, or a Druid/Barbarian, or whatever). In a general sense it's weaker than some artifacts and stronger than others, largely because some artifacts are just incredibly garbage bad than that it's particularly good. The effects it gets, some are more useful than others, and there are costly ones (Blur, especially) but the strongest effects (the flat +hit from the magic weapon and the early spell storing) are either the cheapest ones or the ones player characters ALWAYS get regardless of situation (the flat bonuses).

It's nice to have but I very much doubt it will cause a Ranger to not be overshadowed by a Wizard who is doing any of the stronger Wizard things. At most it adds a bit of wham! to the level 1-3 period where the imbalance is less noticeable by giving a magic composite bow at a stage where most Fighting Men have masterwork gear at best.

Notably this artifact provides no immunities, only one minor miss chance, and relies on either the wielder's (probably poor) spellcasting or on friendly spellcasters to fill up the spell storing abilities (which are by far the strongest part of it - the ability to act, a few times, as if you were a stronger class).

Planeshift at will is probably the strongest ability on that list. At level 13, clerics can still only planeshift 8-15 times per day and wizards/sorcerers can only do it 1-3 times and have only just figured out how. Using the ability tactically will likely be the primary power of the artifact overall.

If you don't like your Rangers having spellcaster-level abilities however narrow in scope, you can nerf that down by requiring it take an hour of walking to cast or something, thus meaning it loses its tactical value, which will relegate it to the role of saving the spellcasters spell slots on Teleport or Plane Shift casts, making it a utility ability. The spellcasters will likely love having more spell slots to use in fights, and it means if the Ranger gets stranded on the Plane of Fire or something he can at least potentially make it home, but it's firmly a utility ability at that stage.

This magic item at most puts a Ranger into the Bard tier of utility, although really, the Bard still is stronger.

It will only overshadow spellcaster characters if those characters are engaging in considerably weak mechanical choices - a Wizard casting Animate Rope and Detect Scrying as his major spells may be in awe of the ranger's cool bow. But your average 'buffed until glowing' cleric or 'my fog be crazy solid' wizard will generally not be impressed at all.


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